Successfully Switching Careers

Julie Shenkman
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If you are considering switching careers, it is important to first determine why you want to make the change. By identifying the driving force behind your decision, it will help you to figure out what job changes would make you the most happy. It is also important to learn more about yourself and recognize your strengths and weaknesses so you can apply them to your daily life as an individual or business professional. Personality tests are an effective way to help determine what types of jobs would be most suitable for your personality and allow your career to thrive. You can also consider engaging a career consultant to provide you with the appropriate level of guidance and coaching to help you transition into a new career. Getting Started Once you have an idea of what would make you the most happy, it is time to start doing your homework! As it can be a significant life change, it is essential to do research before jumping into another career. Here are a few tips on how to get started:
  • Keep Up with Industry Trends – It is important before you consider switching jobs or careers that you understand what industries and jobs are thriving and which are declining. You can access a variety of information on job trends by visiting the Bureau of Labor Statistics website which provides current job and hiring statistics and projected trends You can also view salary ranges for these positions. Nexxt, Inc., a full-service provider of more than 15,000 niche web communities Nexxt publishes quarterly career trends analysis reports on 25 industries that job seekers can use to understand current trends within and across industries and are available on the Nexxt Media Center (
  • Determine if You Need Additional Academic Training – If the field you are considering requires additional training there are many options available such as online and campus school programs. There are many sites that can provide a variety of information on available educational programs, including Nexxt.
  • Watch Career Videos – If you are looking for information about a specific type of job or curious about alternate career paths, job sites offer a variety of career videos that you can view online which identify specific jobs and functions to help determine if there is anything of interest to pursue.
  • Read Job Descriptions – Conduct research on the industry you are thinking about entering to learn what the specific job roles actually entail to further determine if it is an ideal fit based upon your skill set and interests. You can review thousands of job descriptions by visiting a jobsite and conducting a simple search for available jobs. Nexxt also offers a full job directory that is available to job seekers.
Figure Out Where Else You Can Use Your Same Skill Set When you are deciding on the career path that is best for you, it is valuable to pursue careers that you can apply your current skill set. Here are ways to find what career path would coincide with your abilities:
  • Conduct Research – Read industry specific publications, blogs, and search the web for content that pertains to the industry that you are interested in to learn more about how your skill set could be used in this industry.
  • Create Exposure - Choose a career that you have had some exposure to so you have an idea of what skills are necessary.
  • Build relationships – It is beneficial to take advantage of networking opportunities to help determine if your skills align with other industry professionals.
  • Attend workshops and seminars – By joining industry and professional organizations; it gives you the opportunity to attend different workshops and seminars which can help you understand how you could apply your skill set to a career in a given industry.
Create a Self-Marketing Plan It is important to clearly identify your short and long-term career goals to help bridge the gap between where you are in your career and where you want to be. Once you have identified the best jobs that fit your interests and skill sets, it is time to map out the best way to proactively seek new career opportunities. Here are some tips on how to begin your self-marketing plan:
  • Let People Know You Are Looking – Reach out to new and former business and personal contacts to inform them of your career switch. The more people who know you are looking for a job, the better chance that someone may know of an ideal opportunity suited for you.
  • Take Action – Post your resume to both general and niche sites tailored to the industry or location you are interested in.
  • Go the Extra Mile - Create an online portfolio to supplement your online job search that incorporates your resume and other relevant job information to send to potential employers.
  • Enlist Help - Consider a career consultant to help develop your self-marketing and networking skills to make sure you put your best foot forward.
  • Attend Career Fairs - Meet and talk to representatives from a wide range of industries and organizations to build your contact list.
How to Find Job Openings It is best to explore all of your options when searching for a new job. Don’t limit yourself. Remember to look both online and offline and try to keep an open mind when looking at different job postings. Here are a few options that you can utilize to help find the perfect job:
  • Think Niche - When searching for jobs online, it is beneficial for job seekers to broaden the search to include both generic and niche job sites. Because niche sites are tailored to specific industries and locations, they can prove to be a very valuable and sometimes overlooked resource for candidates who are not interested in relocation or multiple industries.
  • Networking is Key - Job seekers should join industry associations or professional societies as a way to build connections and network. By attending seminars and conferences, attendees have the opportunity to continue learning as well as interact with professionals who may have a job opening within their company, or know of job through their network of contacts.
  • Read Industry Related Blogs and Publications - Job seekers should read industry related publications and blogs to keep up with industry trends. Many times, these sources will list job openings that are not widely publicized on larger job sites.
  • Don’t Set Your Standards Too High – Be realistic. Don’t be afraid to take an entry-level job and work your way up to where you want to be by building credibility in your new career.
It can be a tough decision to make a career switch, so it is best to stay positive and confident when looking for a new job. After you land the interview, be sure to demonstrate initiative and show your true personality.

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  • carson ?kelly
    carson ?kelly
    Excellent information. I especially find the "self marketing plan" section quite helpful. Treating a job search like a job or project makes the planning and task involved much more manageable. ?
  • Luckie
    Got it! Thanks for helping me out!
  • Carrie
    At last, someone comes up with the right answer!
  • Melissa
    very good article
  • DEBRA V.
    DEBRA V.
    I followed my dream and ended up in a career for a very long time. I was successful and content.Various reasons got me burned out. I have been seeking employment in the public without getting in too deep or lowering my standard.I read what you said about changing careers and then it got to the part of being sure to be able to use what I gained from the other career, a lite went off. That is my struggle in trying to use what I know and not be confused with what is out there. I was in my own little world with my own business and was sheltered. Hopefully I will have better luck now.

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